A novel automatic method for the fusion of ALS and TLS LiDAR data for robust assessment of tree crown structure

Claudia Paris, David Kelbe, Jan van Aardt, Lorenzo Bruzzone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Tree crown structural parameters are key inputs to studies spanning forest fire propagation, invasive species dynamics, avian habitat provision, and so on, but these parameters consistently are difficult to measure. While airborne laser scanning (ALS) provides uniform data and a consistent nadir perspective necessary for crown segmentation, the data characteristics of terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) make such crown segmentation efforts much more challenging. We present a data fusion approach to extract crown structure from TLS, by exploiting the complementary perspective of ALS. Multiple TLS point clouds are automatically registered to a single ALS point cloud by maximizing the normalized cross correlation between the global ALS canopy height model (CHM) and each of the local TLS CHMs through parameter optimization of a planar Euclidean transform. Per-tree canopy segmentation boundaries, which are reliably obtained from ALS, can then be adapted onto the more irregular TLS data. This is repeated for each TLS scan; the combined segmentation results from each registered TLS scan and the ALS data are fused into a single per-tree point cloud, from which canopy-level structural parameters readily can be extracted.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7907286
Pages (from-to)3679-3693
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE transactions on geoscience and remote sensing
Issue number7
Early online date24 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


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